Deprioritizing Rest: The impact of skipping Spring Break for an already vulnerable student population.

This semester has crawled by at a rate which leaves every day feeling like an eternity and every week like a split second. For whatever reason, this semester in COVID-19 is unlike the others. Perhaps it’s the anticipation of life returning to some semblance of normalcy, or the fatigue of our one-year anniversary looming in the background. Regardless of the cause, time is passing at an unreasonable pace.

Every student I’ve talked to has expressed some kind of exhaustion with this particular semester. This exhaustion has been characterized as present regardless of the amount of sleep, homework, or rest that has been done in a given day. Instead this weariness is a bone-deep one. A tire which could only be solved with a complete hard drive reset.

In semesters past, Spring Break has been a welcome pause in the crunch/crash cycle of classes, as well as a time to celebrate, spend time with family and friends, and sleep off midterms. This semester, however, peers I’ve spoken to haven’t talked of the fun they’d have if we had Spring Break this year, but of the necessity of rest which, now without, is feeling even more vital to the student body.

For students with disabilities and mental illness, this deprioritization of rest has taken an even greater toll. The result is not just an emotional one; the consequences affect grades, productivity, and ability to unwind when we do actually get a break. A normal semester is exhausting, but this one has proven to be a true test of strength. For students already struggling to get through the semester, this fifteen-week sprint has proven debilitating.

This kind of bone-deep weariness can’t be solved with one Wednesday, and the impact on students’ mental health will unfortunately not be healed in one sunny afternoon.

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